“When I ride alone, my wheel is always in front.” – Greg Glassman
I don’t remember when he said it, but the video stands out clearly. Because I love bikes, and so does Greg.
In the few times I visited the Scotts Valley home of CrossFit HQ, Greg always arrived by bike. He talks about riding bikes as a kid in his early videos, and CrossFit now has its own official bike for sale on the main site. But bikes aren’t the point: comparison is.
The value of group exercise in a gym is the same as the value of a peloton: you can be pulled by the pack, or you can measure yourself against the leaders.
The Games shows us who the leaders are in fitness. Who are the leaders in the fitness business?
I’ll introduce you to a few I know in a moment. But first, here’s why we don’t know who the leaders REALLY are:
No one is keeping score–there’s no centralized ledger of which gyms are actually profitable.
Many are keeping the wrong data–it’s easy to assume a box with 400 athletes is profitable. That’s a red herring.
There’s no formal definition of success. At TwoBrain, we use “perfect day” because the term encompasses more than money, but this is specific to the gym owner by definition.
To put this back into bike terms: we don’t know the course, we don’t know how fast anyone is going, and we haven’t defined a finish line.
So who is winning?
Who should we be drafting?
I’ve been tracking data on affiliates since 2013. The Gym Checkup on the TwoBrain site, and our surveys, and thousands of month-end tracking sheets give me the start of a database. Others (like our partners, Incite Tax and ZenPlanner) have a broader but more general data set.
Here are two to follow:
Ken Andrukow – Reebok CrossFit Ramsay – close to 500 members in Calgary, he’ll hit 2M in revenue long before the year ends. Profit margin is higher than our 33% prescription.
Jay Williams – owns the largest gym in the UK (Thames CrossFit). Visits once or twice each year. Runs his other gym (CrossFit Hale) from California, where he lives.
Yes, these are both senior mentors at TwoBrain.
Are there affiliates with more members? Absolutely.
Do those affiliates gross the same amount–and, FAR more importantly, do they have the same profit ratio and low turnover? Or are they scrambling to get 40 new clients every month because they HAVE to?
We’ll never know, will we? And that’s the point.
On a phone call with Nicole Carroll last week, I got really excited (who wouldn’t?) about some new ideas coming out of HQ. Let me assure you: the focus really IS on affiliate growth and development–not just helping more people affiliate, but on helping affiliates more. I’m more optimistic about The Movement than I’ve ever been.
I was left with one hanging question, though. Nicole referred to “…some of our thriving Affiliates” as a testing-ground for a new coaching service. And later, I wondered, “Who are these thriving Affiliates, and what’s the definition of ‘thriving’?”
I guess it’s MY job to ask.
I do around two free calls every day now (over 1200 since I started!)
Around 20% of the callers really are thriving, and know they want mentorship because they can see the finish line. That’s great. All successful business owners have mentors; I didn’t invent mentorship.
But the other 80% of callers say they’re NOT thriving, and can’t put a finger on why. Without a clear definition of success, they don’t know why their gym isn’t making more money.
I was raised on a farm. Sometimes baby animals die without an obvious reason; we call this “failure to thrive.” But even if the reason for their death isn’t obvious, it exists; and if the reason for their peril is discovered in time, the animal usually survives. As a kid, I saw many young lambs fed warmed-up “Lamb-o Mix” out of a beer bottle after their mother had abandoned them. I saw odd objects pulled from calves’ throats when their airways were obstructed. I learned that, by nature, we’re BUILT to thrive; that if we’re not thriving, there’s usually a simple reason. It just requires experience to figure it out.
I like to surround myself with old farmers, fast cyclists and wealthy entrepreneurs. These are my mentors; they’re why I thrive. I measure myself against them.
How will YOU know when you’re thriving?